In the I-League, which finished in sixth place last season, losing to Rajasthan United by 2-3 goals, it started the season – ATK-Mohun Bagan! The absence of Roy Krishna and David Williams was evident from the first match.
After a minute’s silence to pay tribute to the late Samar (Badru) Banerjee, the faces of the 20,000 supporters lit up as Mohun Bagan stormed against Rajasthan, born only four years ago. Mohun Bagan earned a free kick in two minutes of the match. Pogba scored from Liston Colaco’s free-kick, but the referee ruled it offside.
Details of the match
Within minutes, Kiyan Nassiri got the ball from Liston and hit it incredibly over Rajasthan goalkeeper Niraj Kumar. In the 31st minute, Niraj saved Liston’s shot by floating his body to zero. The way Mohun Bagan stormed the attack, it seemed that Hugo Boumous and Joni Kauko entered the field with a vow to flood the opposition with a flood of goals. But Liston raised the blood pressure of the green and maroon supporters by wasting one goal after another. Finally, relief at 41 minutes. Kiyan Nassiri celebrated with a somersault into the net minus Ashique Kuruniyan.
Bektur Amangeldiev made it 1-1 in first-half stoppage time (45 + 1 min) against Mohun Bagan’s defense failure. French World Cup-winning star Paul Pogba’s brother Florentine watched like a silent spectator. This goal of the 23-year-old striker from Kazakhstan, who came to India for the first time to play for Rajasthan, was an ominous signal. From Mohun Bagan coach Juan Ferrando to footballers – no one understood it. Maybe there was no interest! Opponents who finished sixth in the I-League on debut were Rajasthan.
Juan may not have known that Rajasthan owners have changed several footballers including coaches after the end of the I-League. He thought that there would be no problem in winning even if two formidable strikers like Krishna and Williams left the team. Kiyan and Liston are promising. But filling Krishna, Williams’ void, they have yet to acquire the skills to win the team. In the 82nd minute, Kiyan hit the post despite finding the goalkeeper alone. Manvir Singh, and Subhasish Bose also incredibly wasted goals.
The turning point for Rajasthan
At the beginning of the second half, Juan replaced Manvir instead of Liston. Within a minute, Ashique Kuruniyan gave Mohun Bagan a two-one lead. In the 59th minute, he picked up Florentine and dropped Brendan Hamill. He made the biggest mistake this time. Ashish Rai picked up Hugo Boumous. Subhasish Bose instead of Ashique.
As the opponent’s midfield became weak, the players of Rajasthan got excited. Lalramsanga scored 2-2 within two minutes. After that, Kiyan wasted several goal chances. Manvir hit two shots alone. Substitute Gyamar Nikum scored in stoppage time and forced the green and maroon fans to cover their faces in defeat on Gostha Pal’s 126th birthday. The red team of the army also failed on Saturday. They drew 2-2 with Chennaiyin FC.